12 August 2015

Eating Veggie in London. My Top 5 Veggie and Vegan Restaurant Picks


Grilled bean burrito



Cooper and I flew straight into London at the end of our holiday (in Cyprus) for a long weekend in the Big Smoke. We had a blast!  Of course one of our big priorities was to eat well.

Here are my top 5 restaurants from my last few visits to London. Some aren't wholly veggie, but I enjoyed their veggie options. I'll continue to try new places and share them with you in future posts.



No. 1
My Top Pick


 

We were invited to try The Gate Restaurant and I'm so glad we were. The food was divine. We don't often get a chance to enjoy such good veggie and vegan food. This restaurant is now in our top 5 veggie places to eat alongside the Atholl Arms Hotel in Dunkeld and David Bann in Edinburgh
 
Adrian and Michael Daniel have been running The Gate vegetarian restaurant since 1989. They grew up with grandmothers who mixed Indian and Arabic cuisines with Jewish food, so when they opened their first restaurant this is the type of food they wanted to share. As well as their original restaurant in Hammersmith, they also have one in Islington.

What did we eat?

Starter



Cooper - Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup (vegan and gluten free options)

Graham and I loved the flavour of this soup, but Cooper wasn't keen. He's a plain eater and all the dressing on top (there was more than you can see, but I removed some) put him off. It looks pretty but it's probably best to serve children their soup plain. It was gorgeous and I'll be trying it myself soon.

Graham - Grilled Chipotle Girolles Mushrooms (vegan and gluten-free)

With red quinoa, avocado, tomatillo & green chilli salsa served with lime kale crisps. Such an exciting starter. A great combination of flavours and textures. Graham loved the kale crisps which he hadn't tried before.

Me - Vietnamese Rolls (vegan and gluten-free)

Filled with smoked tofu, cucumber, mango, mint and alfalfa sprouts served with a soy dip. A clean and fresh flavoured starter. Very pretty and simple. A nice start to the meal.


Main Course



Cooper - Our fussy eater had some very plain cheese quesadillas, which he enjoyed. The salad leaves were ignored with disdain.

Graham - Aubergine Teriyaki (vegan option)

Char-grilled aubergine layered with coriander pesto, roasted red pepper, shitake mushrooms & horseradish coated with crispy breadcrumbs served on stir-fried noodles with a pickled ginger and mango salsa. I have to try making this at home. It was a really memorable dish. Graham really enjoyed it.

Me - Grilled Asparugus Rotolo (gluten-free)

Baked rolled potato filled with herb ricotta, asparagus and fava beans with grilled vegetable salad and saute samphire. Oh my! So good! Even better, Cooper my picky eater tried the samphire and asparagus and liked them. Our waiter kindly brought him a bowl of samphire to nibble on. Result!

We shared some chunky herb polenta chips with garlic aioli.

Dessert
 



Cooper - Chocolate, Griottine and Chestnut Torte (vegan and gluten-free)

On a brazil nut and dried fruit base. Cooper and I both has this. What can I say? Chocolate hit. Nicely presented and tasty.

Graham - Prune and Apple Crumble (vegan option)

Served with vegan chantilly cream. Graham was delighted to be offered dessert. It's such a rare thing. One happy husband.

Drinks - I as ever enjoyed some wine, but Graham and Cooper went for freshly squeezed juices. Cooper plumped for pear and raspberry and Graham had apple and lemon.




We had a great meal at The Gate. The decor was simple but interesting with panels of different wood decorating one wall and the entrance. The staff were welcoming and friendly and the restaurant, which was quite quiet when we arrived for our early dinner got very busy as our meal progresses, but you weren't near enough other tables for that to become anything more than a cheerful buzz.

Tried The Gate and love their recipes? Check out their cookbooks The Gate Vegetarian Cookbook and The Gate Easy Vegetarian Cookbook




No. 2
Comptoir Libanais

Comptoir Libanais is a Lebanese canteen. They have restaurants across London and are well worth a visit.  Each time I visit one of their restaurants I like to share mezze. Fresh simple food, the kind I could happily eat every day. Not veggie restaurants but great veggie options. The restaurants are simple but very colourfully decorated. The get busy, so dine early or book ahead. Check out their cookbooks too.


No. 3
The Blues Kitchen

 

We stumbled onto The Blues Kitchen while wandering around Camden. It was quite a find. Loved the decor and the atmosphere. Again it's not a veggie restaurant, but we all enjoyed our meals. 

Graham had a Creole Bean Burger  topped with Tomato Salsa and served with Fries, he skipped the slaw. Cooper had Mac & Cheese and Fries. I had a Grilled Bean Burrito with Fries and Slaw. There was also a superfood salad that sounded good, some great sides and a tempting veggie sharing platter. Cooper and I also had shakes which were amazing. I went for Oreo and Cooper had a Chocolate Shake.

While in Camden have a browse round the market and watch boats move up the canal. There's a rather good food market there if you are looking for street food.


No. 4
Leon


Leon is a chain of healthy fast food restaurants. Although there are generally some tables, is usually used as a takeaway. Think Mediterranean. Falafel, hummus, halloumi, sweet potato and salads. It's not veggie but there are great veggie options.


No. 5
Crussh
photo: Maison Cupcake
My good friend Sarah from Maison Cupcake introduced me to Crussh. It's a rather fabulous takeaway and juice bar. A Great range of tasty veggie and vegan soups, salads and noodles as well as a fab range of smoothies. Cooper wasn't impressed with the salads (he likes his separate on the plate), but did like one of the porridge pots. 

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That's it. My top 5 places to eat veggie in London. It's a small list, but a great starting point. It's a list I hope to add to with each new trip to London.

Where would you recommend we eat in London?



 
Disclosure: The Gate invited us to have a meal in their restaurant. It would still have hit the top of the list if we'd found it ourselves. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

29 comments:

  1. I remember The Gate being around when I lived near Hammersmith over ten years ago so they must be doing something right to keep going that long!

    I love Comptoir Libanais, I would love them to open a branch in Walthamstow and I would be in there all the time. I like that it's very affordable for lunch but you can order loads of mezze type dishes and make more of an occasion of it.

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    1. It's their 25th year Sarah. Such a brilliant veggie restaurant and yes I wish we had Comptoir Libanais here too.

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  2. Oooh, lots of lovely new places to try next time I'm in London. FAB!

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    1. Hope you get the chance Emily and enjoy them.

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  3. The Grain Store, Kings Cross is one of our favourite restaurants (what with the OH being a veggie). Although it's not a vegetarian restaurant its vegetable led so very vegetarian friendly. They are also more than willing to make dishes veggie or vegan that otherwise wouldn't be as the vegetable is king!

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    1. Sounds like a good one Emmy. I'll put it on my list and definitely give it a visit.

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  4. The gate sounds exactly like a restaurant I would enjoy and is in a location close (London-close) to where I'm going with work. I will make a note of the restaurant to try it next time.

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    1. They have a lunchtime menu too Anca. A meal and fresh juice/smoothie for £10 http://thegaterestaurants.com/menu.php?menu=10578

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  5. This a great post, Jac! I was fairly drooling over your Instagram pix and hoping for more info. I keep a running list of restaurants to try in different cities and will certainly refer to this in the future. Very keen to try The Gate!

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    1. That's a great idea Kellie. You would love The Gate too.

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  6. intrigued by the spring rolls, never seen purple ones before! Leon has got a lot of mentions in food land...

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    1. They were good and yes Leon is great for lunch. Nice flavours and reasonably priced too.

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  7. ooh there's some seriously good looking eats on this page! London's really got it all, doesn't it.

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    1. I know, Londoners are very lucky with their choice of restaurants.

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  8. The Gate looks good Jac. Isn't it wonderful to be spoilt for choice. Veggie eateries are few and far between down here, but the ones that do exist are excellent.

    I'm well out of the food scene in London now, but there used to be a fantastic little vegetarian Indian place in one of the side streets behind Euston where we used to go for lunch as students. They had an amazing thali which cost virtually nothing at all. Would be great if it was still there.

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    1. Sounds great Choclette, that Indian needs to be investigated. Unfortunately we don't have a single veggie restaurant in Dundee.

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  9. I am really salivating at the sound of the aubergine teryaki dish, definitely something to play with!

    Even though we are close to London we are complete tourists when we get there so thank you for the food guide as its been hit n miss with trying on the day!

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    1. Oh good Anne, I do hope you try some of them.

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  10. lovely selections... I wish you'd told me you were coming. There's a newish veggie restaurant called Ethos just off Oxford Circus which is stunningly good. It's a 'weigh-your-plate' buffet style but it's so incredibly good and the food is out of this world... next time call me!

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    1. I will Dom, I didn't really tel many people I was going as I knew we were trying to fit so much in. I'll definitely add that to my list for next time.

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  11. I was in Mildred's in Soho last night, worth every minute of the 1 hour 25 minutes we had to wait for a table
    http://www.mildreds.co.uk/#!

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    1. Oh jeez it would have to be, but they don't take bookings do they?

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  12. Chawla on Green Street is the best vegetarian, with vegan options, I've ever eaten. It's an Indian restaurant and it's delicious. The paneer dosa blew me away. It was like it was mozzarella. Incredible. If you do head to London and want veggie food, you shouldn't miss it. Better than Raza in Stoke Newington imho.

    Search "green street chawla" and you can see pictures of the food, they're making me hungry!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll add it to my list :)

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  13. Oh this is brilliant Jac, thank you we are hoping to squeeze in a visit to London in the next couple of weeks. The Gate looks fab! X

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  14. Thanks, Jacqui! I've been to The Gate restaurant in Hammersmith several times and absolutely love it....I also have both of their cookbooks which I'd also recommend for cookbook lovers.

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    1. Yes I have the newest one, it's my bedtime reading at the moment. Fab restaurant!

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  15. Grain Store in Kings Cross is definitely one of the best vegetable based restaurants in London. It's not strictly veggie but many options are completely vegan. I encountered cashew 'cheese' here for the first time and became instantly addicted.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x